Upbeat Characters in Designs by Idiot’s Pasture

Simple yet humorously eccentric characters stand out in illustrations and band posters by Idiot’s Pasture. His playful work brews together the right concoction of silliness and eye-catching designs.

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Below, Idiot’s Pasture aka Johnny talks to us about the necessity for ease when putting together his projects.

Not over-thinking the process or the materials is important, and helps him achieve the lighthearted quality that makes his work so enjoyable.

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I am an illustrator and educator based in everybody’s favourite industrial town, Sowerby Bridge but the majority of my work, energy and time is spent in Leeds. My time is split between working on freelance projects, teaching on the Foundation course at Leeds College of Art and making music in my band Hookworms.

In terms of my freelance practice, I have been working closely with Tall Boys Beer Market, a new independent bottle shop in Leeds to create all of their branding and merchandise.

I also work frequently with independent/DIY bands and promoters and am currently working on the artwork for a Cowtown 7” and Slowcoaches 12”.

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When it comes to process, I was a complete luddite until very recently.

I knew the basics of Photoshop to the extent that I could just about digitally colour work and erase linework but with the increasing number of commissions for large-scale pieces I’ve ventured into the world of vectors and I’m having a great time.

I think that I work in quite a convoluted way. 95% of the work I produce starts with hand drawn images, it’s very rare that something is entirely digitally produced.

I essentially collage my hand drawn line work digitally. I never draw whole characters or scenes completely and just scan them in and colour them, each individual element is drawn separately on a page and pieced together on Photoshop. Think of it as an illustration version of Airfix kits.

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I’m really not a natural drawer and it’s something I actually find very difficult and it’s taken me a long time to find a way of working that is comfortable for me. I am ultimately interested in simplicity and reduction.

For materials, I generally just use whatever’s lying around.

If it makes lines and the ink doesn’t bleed, then I’ll use it. There’s absolutely no snobbery when it comes to pen or paper choice. This is pretty much my approach to life. If it works and it’s cheap, I’ll have it.

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My teaching practice is as equally important as my illustration practice and I doubt that either could exist without the other.

Teaching is a constant inspiration and I’ve had some amazing students that are excellent draftsmen and equally as inspirational in their ideas, beliefs and work ethic.

By surrounding myself with creative people and engaging in conversation about contemporary design and communication practices, I find that it keeps me on my toes and keeps me motivated when I may be struggling.

It’s a really wonderful thing and I hope that the decimation of the Further Education sector by the Tories ends soon.

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© Idiot’s Pasture, 2016

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